Caregiver Support: The Art of Staying Organized

PMC Caregiver Support GroupActing as a caregiver for a loved one can be overwhelming and difficult to manage especially in the beginning.  Staying organized in all aspects, around the house, with the patient’s prescriptions, their schedule, doctor visits, and important documents is crucial.  We listed below several ways you can maintain an orderly routine both for yourself and your loved one.

 

  • Declutter : It may sound obvious but going through your things and getting rid of items you no longer need or use is important not only for your organizational needs, but also for your frame of mind. When your house, car, or office is cluttered it makes you feel anxious, stressed, and overwhelmed .  Ask a friend or family member to help you go through items and mark those to keep, give way, or throw away.
  • Keep a detailed calendar: You may think that you keep a detailed calendar already in your head however many people find it reassuring to see a detailed account of their schedule over the next few months.  You don’t need to panic wondering if you forgot something because where your supposed to be and when is right in front of you.  Keep track of your schedule by listing all appointments, reminders, social gatherings, and events on your calendar.  Use a hard copy calendar or an electronic calendar, whichever you feel most comfortable with and you will use.
  • Journal: Since you are the one who is accompanying your loved one to all of their appointments it is very important to keep a written account for posterity and as a reference if you ever need it.  Detail the patient’s day to day routine including their exercise, eating, medication schedule, sleep schedule and any potential health issues such as difficulty breathing, pains,  constipation, etc.  You can also write about your correspondence with various doctors, your insurance company, and your pharmacy so anyone who needed to know that information would have it at their disposal. Explore your thoughts, worries, and hopes in another journal where you can analyze your moods and ensure that you are taking care of yourself . This is a journal that you can either keep for yourself or share with a family member/friend who can use it to help understand what you are going through and how they can help.
  • Have a medication system:  Arrange all medication in a case or marked container and make sure that you have at least a weeks supply of all medications in case of an emergency and you are unable to get to a pharmacy.
  • Keep an information binder:  Organize the binder in whatever way makes sense to you and to a third party in the event that you are not there and someone needs certain information.  List all of your loved ones doctors, their contact info, the nurse practitioner on call’s info, their  appointment schedule, an overview of their treatment, medication names, dosages, and how often each is taken, your local pharmacy name, location, and phone number, a list of emergency family contacts, list of allergies, copies of identification cards, insurance cards, power of attorney for healthcare documents, and any other pertinent legal and medical documents.Organizational Tips for caregivers